One year after he made a splash as Chris Washington in the Jordan Peele-written and directed Get Out, Daniel Kaluuya appeared in Black Panther, the eighteenth Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, as W’Kabi, a trusted confidant to Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa. We’ll be heading back to Wakanda later this year in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and while it’d originally been reported that Kaluuya would reprise his role, the actor has confirmed he won’t appear in the sequel.
Daniel Kaluuya is currently making the press rounds for Nope, his latest collaboration with Jordan Peele that sees him starring alongside Keke Palmer and Steve Yeun, among others. While chatting with Rotten Tomatoes’ Jacqueline Coley about this 2022 movie release, Kaluuya revealed that he was unable to return for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever due to scheduling conflicts with Nope. So while the upcoming Marvel movie is bringing back a lot of familiar faces, W’Kabi won’t be one of them.
While it’s a shame that Daniel Kaluuya wasn’t able to find time in his schedule to shoot Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, narratively speaking, W’Kabi’s absence from the movie makes sense. Although T’Challa and W’Kabi were best friends at the start of Black Panther, their differing views over how to handle Ulysses Klaue, who killed W’Kabi’s parents during his infiltration of Wankanda in the early ‘90s, drove a wedge between them. When Erik “Killmonger” Stevens later laid claim to the Wakandan throne, W’Kabi and his Border Tribe army supported the efforts to distribute Wakandan weapons around the world. W’Kabi fought back against T’Challa, his wife Okoye and the others who came to stop Killmonger, and he ultimately surrendered. So it’s entirely possible that when Wakanda Forever begins, W’Kabi is either in prison for his actions or has perhaps been banished from Wakanda.
Even though we won’t see W’Kabi in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, hopefully he’s mentioned so that we’re in the loop on what’s happened to him. The best way this can happen is via Okoye, as Danai Gurira is definitely reprising the character, who also appeared in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Other familiar faces back for Wakanda Forever include Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright, Wilson Duke, Angela Bassett, Florence Kasumba, Isaach de Bankolé, Dorothy Steel, and Danny Sapani. Wakanda Forever will also introduce Dominique Thorne’s Riri Williams, a.k.a. Ironheart, ahead of her Disney+ series.
Sadly, Chadwick Boseman passed away in August 2020, and since T’Challa will never appear in the MCU again through either a recast or digital recreation, it hasn’t been announced yet who will take over as the new Black Panther. That’s said, arguably the likeliest candidate is Letitia Wright’s Shuri, T’Challa’s sister who briefly became Black Panther in the comics. It’s also been heavily rumored/reported/supposedly leaked that Narcos: Mexico star Tenoch Huerta is playing Namor the Sub-Mariner, though this hasn’t been officially confirmed. Behind the scenes, Ryan Coogler returned to direct and co-write Wakanda Forever with Joe Robert Cole.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is still slated for November 11, but you can catch up with past adventures with T’Challa and his cohorts, including the animated What If… ? series, with a Disney+ subscription. Nope drops exclusively in theaters on July 22.
Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.
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